On Monday September 9th, The Creative Coalition held their annual Gala for the Spotlight Initiate Awards during the Toronto International Film Festival. Created in 2008, the Spotlight Initiative has served to support independent films that utilize the medium not only as an outlet for artistic expression but simultaneously as a relevant tool to create awareness and inspire society.
This year the honorees were Hill Harper, star and executive producer of Tommy Oliver's TIFF entry 1982, and star of "Covert Affairs", For Colored Girls, "CSI: NY" and Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films (JOBS, Side Effects, End of Watch), a co-venture between Regal Theaters and AMC (now owned by Chinese mogul Wang Jianlin, the wealthiest man in China, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group Corp., who just announced plans to create the world's largest movie studio in his home country).
Tom and Robin Bronk CEO of The Creative Coalition both attended Penn State University. And speaking of education, Robin made a point of reiterating the Creative Coalition's stand on public education, stating that the public schools are failing terribly in arts education and that the education of every child is a basic human right.
Robin Bronk also said, “We are pleased and quite proud to be honoring Hill Harper, star of CSI:NY and Executive Producer and star of Tommy Oliver's new film 1982, and Tom Ortenberg who is now CEO of Open Road, two individuals who – throughout their respective careers – have used their influential platforms within the entertainment industry to serve the common good.”
We had a great time catching up with old friends as well: Cotty Chubb whose next film The Dinner with Cate Blanchett was just announced and makes us all quite happy for him. Carol Polakoff was with Cotty and we made our usual promise to catch up with each other in L.A. We did catch up with Mark Urman of Paladin whose pick-up Metro Manila is U.K.’s Foreign-Language Oscar Entry.
We also spoke of his merger with 108 Media which is doing well. Sharing the dinner table with him and us were Susan Margolin, co-President of Cinedigm as well as old friends Paul Cohen, producer Bruce Weiss and Denise Kasell who has left the Coolidge Theater in Boston to return to her home in New York. Also spotted were Mark Amin who reminded me of those old days when video was king and he started the long-gone Trimark.Now head of Sobini Films, he has many projects happening.
The Creative Coalition is so gracious in hosting great events in Toronto, Sundance and having a weekly 5 minute session with President Obama. Based in New York City, the non-profit and non-partisan organization was founded in 1989 by important figures in the arts and entertainments fields. The group advocates for the importance of creative works to influence change in crucial social issues. For more information click HERE.